Ceramic Art in Finland, a contemporary tradition - Edited by Asa Hellman

01 Oct 2004

Press release:
This beautifully illustrated book is the first comprehensive look at the history of Ceramic Art in Finland, and the exciting, vibrant work emanating from its studios today. It introduces more than 160 unique artists who have chosen clay as their medium.

In a series of essays, experts in the field discuss and illustrate the whole spectrum of Finnish Ceramic Art - its pioneers, personalities, techniques and distinctive works. From the late 19th century masters, through internationally recognised designers of the 1950's, 60's, and 70's to emerging talents today.

The dividing line between ceramic art and utilitarian pottery is barely perceptible - and it is partly this that makes the topic so exciting. This book contains a comprehensive account of the diversity to be found in Finnish ceramic art, and includes contributions by Asa Hellman.Airi Hortling, Harri Kalha, Johnny Korkman, Marjut Kumela, Esa Laaksonen, Hannele Nyman and Jennifer Hawkins Opie.

Among the abundant illustrations are many works never previously seen in public, and a pictorial history emerges from the artists' family albums. Their working methods and techniques are described, as well as their lives and achievements. The key to signatures and stamps, specially compiled for this book, will be invaluable to collectors of Finnish ceramics.

About the Author
Asa Hellman studied art history at the University of Helsinki, graduated from the ceramics department of the University of Art and Design/Helsinki, and continued her studies at the University of Belgrade and the Royal College of Art in London. Alongside her work as a ceramic artist she has been a part-time teacher at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki and has reviewed art for various newspapers and magazines. She has a studio in her home town of Porvoo, and her works have been acquired by significant collections and museums in Finland and abroad.

This new book, highlights for me yet another area of ceramic art where my knowledge is sadly lacking - at least until now! The book looks at the career and contribution of A.W. Finch, who moved to Finland in 1897 and is known by many as 'the father of Finnish ceramics'. It moves on to look at many of his students - in some cases almost totally forgotten and then moves onwards until it reaches today's ceramicists from Finland.

It is interesting to hear about the very different social conditions facing early potters, especially, it seems, women. The seven essays give an in depth view of their subjects, while leading into the main body of the book, which profiles around 160 ceramicists with many images of their work. I particularly liked the work of Pii-Pot, Merja Haapala, Eeva-Liisa Molsa, Satu Syrjansen, but with so much talented work shown it makes one wish for a few more exhibitions of Finnish work to take place around the world so that one could look, touch and admire many of these artists pieces - there probably are many exhibitions, in which case I hope in future the promoters will let studiopottery.co.uk have the details to put on our events listing!

As with any book or other image of ceramics, it can only go so far - but the images make one want to reach out and touch the pot, to see it 'in the flesh' as it were. So for me the book succeeds in leaving me hungry for more!

From a UK and possibly wider 'non Finnish' point of view this book unlocks a fresh and exciting area of ceramics which few previously have had the opportunity to enjoy and learn about. An excellent addition to the store of knowledge about ceramics around the world, well worthy of collectors and students time.

Publication Date: 18 October 2004
Price: 40.00
ISBN: 0-50051187
Binding: Hardback
Detail: Illustrated 262 images, 142 in colour. In total 272 pages, approx size: 29 x 24 cm,
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 181a High Holborn, London WC1V 7QX.
Tel: +44 (0)20-7845-5000
Fax: +44 (0) 20-7845-5055 Coryright: Authors and Otava Publishing Company Ltd..
Edition: 1st

For more information:
Please contact the publishers, Thames & Hudson as above or by email k.burvill@thameshudson.co.uk

Please mention www.studiopottery.co.uk when contacting the publisher.